by Brian Brooks (August 31, 2010)
Melissa Leo and James Gandolfini in a scene from Jake Scott's Woodstock Centerpiece, "Welcome to the Rileys." Image courtesy of WFF.Some 150 films are on tap for the 11th Woodstock Film Festival, with the New York premiere of John Curran’s “Stone” set to close the event taking place September 29 - October 3 in the Upstate New York towns of Woodstock and neighboring Rhinebeck, Rosendale, Mt. Tremper, and Kingston in the Hudson Valley Catskills. Eleven world premieres, 20 U.S. and 14 East Coast debuts will screen during the fest along with 13 New York premieres (the festival will announce its opener later).
Malcolm Venville’s “Henry’s Crime” starring Keanu Reeves (U.S. premiere) will screen as a spotlight film along with Baltasar Kormakur’s “Inhale.” Reeves will be in Woodstock to receive the WFF Honorary Excellence in Acting Award during the festival’s Gala Maverick Awards Ceremony on October 2nd. Jake Scott’s “Welcome to the Rileys,” meanwhile, will have its East Coast premiere as the festival’s Centerpiece.
Other noted titles include “special screenings” of Michael Epstein’s “Lennon NYC,” Anthony Waller & Ray Kurzweil’s “The Singularity Is Near,” (East Coast Premiere) and an event dubbed, “Fright Night Friday! Double Horror Header!” with Vincent D’Onofrio’s “Don’t Go In the Woods” and Joe Maggio’s “Bitter Feast.”
In addition to Reeves, director Bruce Beresford (“Driving Miss Daisy,” “Mao’s Last Dancer”) will receive the fest’s Honorary Maverick Award, while distribution exec Bob Berney will receive the WFF Trailblazer Award.
Films screening in the Narrative Competition include “3 Backyards” by Eric Mendelsohn, “Cherry” by Jeffrey Fine, “The Colonel’s Bride” by Brent Stewart, “The Locksmith” by Brad Barnes & Todd Barnes, “Norman” by Jonathan Segal, “Stranger Things” by Eleanor Burke & Ron Eyal, “The Tested” by Russell Costanzo and “White Irish Drinkers” by John Gray.
Films in Woodstock’s Documentary Competition include “Camp Victory, Afghanistan” by Carol Dysinger, “The Disappearance of McKinley Nolan” by Henry Corra, “Gerrymandering” by Jeff Reichert, “Journey from Zanskar” by Frederick Marx, “Made in India” by Rebecca Haimowitz & Vaishali Sinha, “My So-Called Enemy” by Lisa Gossels and “One Lucky Elephant” by Lisa Leeman.
“We have an extraordinarily diverse program this year that challenges the way we perceive and think about the world,” commented WFF co-founder and Executive Director Meira Blaustein in a statement. “We are proud to present a line-up that explores our innate desire to make personal connections, while reflecting on the cautionary aspects of the changing technological and environmental landscape. We need these talented filmmakers to illuminate the dark waters, helping us see beyond current perceptions, and like so many of our films, find hope and inspiration in the future.”
Selections from the 2010 Woodstock Film Festival lineup (with descriptions provided by the festival):
Arnold Schwarzenegger in a scene from Jeff Reichert’s WFF doc competition film, “Gerrymandering.” Image courtesy of WFF.Closing Night Film:
”Stone” (New York Premiere) - Directed by John Curran. Robert De Niro and Edward Norton deliver powerful performances as a seasoned corrections official and a scheming inmate whose lives become dangerously intertwined in this thought-provoking drama by the director of “We Don’t Live Here Anymore” and “The Painted Veil.” As parole officer Jack Mabry (De Niro) counts the days toward a quiet retirement, he is asked to review the case of Gerald “Stone” Creeson (Norton), in prison for covering up the murder of his grandparents with a fire. Eligible for early release, Stone needs to convince Jack he has reformed, but the line between lawman and lawbreaker becomes precariously thin. Director Curran will attend the Q & A following the film.
(Woodstock’s Opening Film will be announced at a later date.)
[U]”Henry’s Crime” (U.S. Premiere) - Directed by Malcolm Venville. Sleepwalking his way through life, Henry (Keanu Reeves) gets an unexpected wake-up call when he becomes an unwitting participant in a bank heist. Rather than give up the names of the real culprits, he takes the fall and, having done the time, Henry reasons he may as well do the crime. Discovering a forgotten tunnel connecting the bank to a nearby theater, he recruits his old cellmate Max (James Caan) to aid in a robbery, all the while playing the lead in the theater production where he falls for his leading lady, Julie (Vera Farmiga). Keanu Reeves co-produced and will be in attendance for the Q & A following the film, along with Vera Farmiga.
(Keanu Reeves will be the recipient of a WFF Honorary Excellence in Acting Award at the Saturday Night, Oct. 2 Gala Maverick Awards Ceremony).[/U]”Inhale” (North American Premiere) - Directed by Baltasar Kormakur. Every day, rising Santa Fe District Attorney Paul Chaney and his wife, Diane, wait for word that there’s a lung donor for their daughter, Chloe, who suffers from a rare degenerative condition. When Paul learns of a doctor who performs transplants in Mexico, he heads south in a frantic search for the only man who may be able to save Chloe. He soon realizes the doctor’s medical ring runs deep into a criminal underworld where his patients aren’t donors - they’re victims. Kormakur is Iceland’s breakout director, having won acclaim for his many films worldwide. Cast/Featuring: Dermot Mulroney, Diane Kruger, Sam Shepard, Vincent Perez, Rosanna Arquette, and Jordi Molla. Director Baltasar Kormakur will be in attendance for the Q & A following the film. Courtesy of IFC Films.